RCS Sport officially presented the route of this year?s Tirreno-Adriatico on Monday, revealing a parcours that includes several stages that suit Britain?s Mark Cavendish and his high-speed sprint finish.
The week-long race, that traditionally serves to peak for the Milan-San Remo one-day classic, begins on Wednesday March 11 in Tuscany close to Paolo Bettini's home town on the Tuscany coast and ends on Tuesday March 17 in San Benedetto del Tronto on the Adriatic.
Stage one ends in Capannori near Lucca, while stage two is from Volterra to Marina di Carrara on the coast. Both stages include short climbs near the finish but could end in sprints if the attacks are kept under control.
Stage three is from Fucecchio to Santa Croce Sull?Arno and covers many of the roads and climbs used by British riders based in Quarrata. It is almost totally flat and so could see the first real head to head sprint match between Cavendish, Tom Boonen (Quick Step), Daniele Bennati (Liquigas) and Alessandro Petacchi (LPR).
The race transfers east to the Adriatic coast for the hilly fourth stage between Foligno and Montelupone. Stage five is a 30km time trial between Loreto and Macerata, while stage six from Civitanova Marche to Camerino is the hardest of all with a 235km ride in the Apennines and the 1455m climb of Sasso Tetto. The race ends with the traditional seventh stage to San Benedetto del Tronto and a fast circuit finish on the seafront.
Fabian Cancellara (Saxo Bank) won last year?s race before going on to win Milan-San Remo with a late attack. He will lead the Saxo Bank team in this year?s race.
BARLOWORLD GET WILD CARD INVITATION
Organisers RCS Sport confirmed the names of the 24 teams invited to Tirreno-Adriatico and revealed that thee British registered Team Barloworld has a place. This means that Steve Cummings, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are all likely to ride Tirreno-Adriatico this year.
Barloworld were initially left off the list of invited teams to Tirreno-Adriatico, Eroica, Milan-San Remo and the Giro d?Italia. Getting an invitation to Tirreno-Adriatico is a good sign that the team will eventually invited to all the races, especially as some other teams have failed to obtain a wild card licence from the UCI because of problems over the biological passports.
Click on the map to open full size in a new window
Monday's international news round-up
Leipheimer wins 2009 Tour of California
Contador wins first race of season in Algarve
Cummings goes close in Trofeo Laigueglia
Comment What?s in a victory salute
Basso heads home after injury
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1